Purgatory Online

Monday, September 15, 2003

Here's an odd little quirk of the schedule - there are eleven games on today's schedule, and, with the exception of the Cincinnati-Pittsburgh contest, all of them feature one team that's still in contention and one team that isn't. In other words, no head-to-head scratch-n-claw baseball goodness, just spoiler madness times ten.

Tomorrow, though, Minnesota and the White Sox - currently tied - start a series that may well determine the AL Central, and Florida and Philadelphia will battle it out for the N.L. Wild Card lead (with Los Angeles and the all-but-eliminated Diamondbacks also matching up). With the Angels out of it, I'm starting to follow other teams a bit more closely, with a particular eye on the A.L. Central - the Twins and Sox are both ex-hometown teams of mine, and it's shaping up to be a very interesting last two weeks. The Twins have, by far, the easier schedule of the two, with three against Cleveland, three against Chicago, and SEVEN against Detroit, while the Sox have to endure three against Minnesota, three against New York, and seven against Kansas City. But Chicago is the better team, I think, in just about every way. Those seven games the Twins play against Detroit are huge. Realistically, Minnesota has to be thinking that they'll win at least five of those, which puts enormous pressure on the White Sox to win five games against Kansas City. PLUS they'll have to win as many against New York as the Twins win against Cleveland, AND take two out of three from Minnesota at the Metrodome. A pretty tall order.

I think that the White Sox are fortunate that they're starting with the Twins; it's a chance to build and defend a small lead instead of having to slog through a bunch of games with tough opponents while trying to keep pace with a team that's playing also-rans. But it also means that this upcoming series is critical for the Sox in a way that it isn't for the Twins. Minnesota can possibly afford to fall a couple of games back. Chicago absolutely cannot.